It’s important to wear hearing protection when working near loud noises that can permanently damage your hearing. Many workers prefer to wear ear plugs in the field instead of earmuffs because they are disposable, easy to carry around, and can easily be worn with other safety equipment.
Our ear plug options at PK Safety include disposable ear plugs as well as reusable ear plugs of different shapes (barrel vs. taper) and sizes. We carry hearing protection from the most trusted brands in the industry, including 3M, Howard Leight, PIP, Pyramex, and Moldex. The ear plugs we carry are made of foam and you can also find corded ear plugs to keep the pair tethered together. Are you looking for protection that fits directly on most hard hats with side accessory slots? Check out our selection of earmuffs.
At what decibel do you need ear plugs?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers should wear hearing protection when noise levels reach or surpass 80 decibels over an eight-hour time-weighted average. If you cannot hear what another person is saying when they are six feet away, the sound level is likely above this threshold. You must also wear double hearing protection by doubling up earmuffs over ear plugs when noise levels exceed 100 decibels on an eight-hour time-weighted average.
Which is better: ear plugs or earmuffs?
Choosing between ear plugs and earmuffs depends on the person’s comfort level and whether they need to wear additional safety equipment. If the worker wears hearing protection for long periods, ear muffs are the better choice. If the worker only needs them for a few minutes or hours at a time, ear plugs are more convenient. Both options will insulate the person’s ears from loud noises to prevent permanent hearing damage. Each item comes with a noise reduction rating (NRR). Use a sound meter to calculate the sound level in your workplace. Compare the level to the NRR on the ear plugs to find the right volume reduction for your work environment. You can add an NRR of 5 to the device with the larger NRR when doubling up on hearing protection.
How can I protect my ears at work?
The best way to prevent hearing loss at work is to avoid loud areas whenever possible or to reduce the overall noise level. If that is not an option, you will need to use hearing protection equipment such as earmuffs or ear plugs for working. The plugs will fit into your ear canal to prevent noise from reaching the eardrum. The ear muffs cover your ears to insulate them from sound. Keep this equipment on your person at work if sound may become an issue. Employers should provide ear plugs that are easily accessible so they can actually be used by workers. They should also consider hearing screening tests for new employees as a defensive way to prevent later claims of work-induced hearing loss or tinnitus.
Loud noises are common in many environments outside of work. Simply avoid the loud noises when you can to protect your hearing. This means turning down your music, moving away from speakers at concerts, and spending as little time as possible in loud places. Browse our selection of ear plugs to prevent hearing damage on and off the job site.